Mlambo – Every game a final for the battling champions

In the wake of a very poor start to the season, Bidvest Wits midfielder Xola Mlambo says the Students must treat every match as a cup final.

Last season’s league champions have won only one of their seven opening matches in the league and sit second from bottom on the table. They were also knocked out of the MTN8, another competition they won last season.

“It has not been easy for any of us,” Mlambo told the Star.

“And that’s because we came into this season as both league and MTN8 defending champions. We’ll now have to treat every game as if it were a cup final and hopefully we’ll turn the corner soon.”

Mlambo has made just one league start this season, but captained the Clever Boys to victory in the Gauteng Champion of Champions mini tournament last weekend.

He says it was a personal confidence booster, although he understands it won’t be easy to nail down a place in a star-studded Clever Boys team.

“It wasn’t an easy tournament to play in because we also played against a side such as SuperSport, who are in this year’s MTN8 final and Cosmos, who’ve been a fantastic form in domestic league campaign (NFD) as well. I’m just glad we were able to come out with the win,” said Mlambo, who picked up the Player of the Tournament award.

“Coach Gavin [Hunt] is a very smart coach. He knew what he was doing when he gave me the captain’s armband. 

“Perhaps that decision had an influence in me scooping both the Man-off-the-Match and Player of the Tournament accolades, who knows? I know though that it has certainly lifted my confidence going forward.

“I believe the coach will field me when the time is right. It’s very difficult now because we’ve got a whole lot of talented midfielders.